Srikanth Reddy's first book of poetry is Facts for Visitors (University of California Press, 2004).
His work has appeared in various journals, including APR, The Canary, Fence, Grand Street,
jubilat, and A Public Space. Reddy is currently an assistant professor of English at the University of Chicago.
Three poems by Srikanth Reddy
Then the pulse.
Then a pause.
Then twilight in a box.
Then the same war by a different name.
Wine splashing in a bucket.
The erection, the era.
Then exit Reason.
Then sadness without reason.
Then the removal of the ceiling by hand.
Then pages & pages of numbers.
Then the page with the faint green stain.
Then the page on which Prince Theodore, gravely wounded, is thrown onto a wagon.
Then the page on which Masha weds somebody else.
Then the page that turns to the story of somebody else.
Then the page scribbled in dactyls.
Then the page which begins Exit Angel.
Then the page wrapped around a dead fish.
Then the page where the serfs reach the ocean.
Then a nap.
Then the peg.
Then the page with the curious helmet.
Then the page on which millet is ground.
Then the death of Ursula.
Then the stone page they raised over her head.
Then the page made of grass which goes on.
Then the page someone folded to mark her place.
Then the page on which nothing happens.
The page after this page.
Then the transcript.
Interpretation, then harvest.
Then a love story.
Then a trip to the ruins.
Then & only then the violet agenda.
Then hope without reason.
Then the construction of an underground passage between us.
I am about to recite a psalm that I know. Before I begin, my expectation extends over the entire psalm.
Once I have begun, the words I have said remove themselves from expectation & are now held in memory while
those yet to be said remain waiting in expectation. The present is a word for only those words which I
am now saying. As I speak, the present moves across the length of the psalm, which I mark for you with
my finger in the psalm book. The psalm is written in India ink, the oldest ink known to mankind. Every
ink is made up of a color & a vehicle. With India ink, the color is carbon & the vehicle, water. Life
on our planet is also composed of carbon & water. In the history of ink, which is rapidly coming to an
end, the ancient world turns from the use of India ink to adopt sepia. Sepia is made from the octopus,
the squid & the cuttlefish. One curious property of the cuttlefish is that, once dead, its body begins
to glow. This mild phosphorescence reaches its greatest intensity a few days after death, then ebbs
away as the body decays. You can read by this light.
(from Voyager, Bk. II)
When the rains came
a passport to heaven
I was wounded
by happy chance
Mein lieber Freund
to see me through